Just over three weeks ago, the NCAA announced that its 13-month investigation into the recruitment of Cam Newton had come to an end, with the finding that no violations — major or otherwise — on the part of Auburn had been substantiated.
Of course, given the magnitude of the story, that was far from the final word on the events surrounding Newton’s recruitment.
Thanks to a Freedom of Information request on the part of multiple media outlets, Auburn Friday released documents relating to the NCAA’s investigation into how Newton came to land in The Plains. The documents shed additional light on the role Kenny Rogers, a former Mississippi State football player, played as the admitted middle man in Cecil Newton‘s pay-to-play scheme, as well as other schools that were questioned by the NCAA in connection to the case.
Here are some of the highlights of the more illuminating aspects of the probe contained in the documents released today:
- As had previously been reported, Newton was briefly declared ineligible before the Georgia game last Nov. 13, but was quickly reinstated. Newton was also declared ineligible prior to the conference title game Dec. 4 against South Carolina. On Nov. 30, the Birmingham News writes, “the NCAA’s Academics Affairs and Membership Committee determined Rogers “acted as Newton’s athletics agent” and ruled Cam Newton ineligible.” As was the case two weeks earlier, Auburn quickly petitioned the NCAA for Newton’s reinstatement, which was granted after the school once again argued that neither they nor the quarterback were aware of the pay-for-play scheme concocted by Cecil Newton.
- During a period that ran from March of 2009 through January of 2010 — the rough timeline of Newton’s recruitment by other schools — the NCAA found that Rogers and Cecil Newton had communicated a total of 275 times via either phone or text.
- The NCAA believed that Rogers told Bill Bell, a former MSU player and current booster, that Cam Newton would commit to Oklahoma — following a visit to Tennessee — if no payment was made to Cecil Newton by the Bulldogs. That payment has been reported to be anywhere between $120,000 and $180,000 for MSU, $200,000 for other schools. Investigators also believe that Rogers told Bell, in order to get Newton to Starkville, the booster “just had to make it happen“, presumably referring to the payment requested by the player’s father.
- In addition to Auburn and Mississippi State, documents reveal that the NCAA spoke to Kansas State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arizona during the course of their investigation.
- At least one of the documents released today was an email between disgraced former UNC assistant coach John Blake and Rogers. Blake involuntarily resigned from Butch Davis‘ staff early last season due to NCAA issues unrelated to the Newton investigation. The NCAA also found that Rogers had been in contact with three unnamed Oklahoma assistant coaches.
By way of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, you can read all of the documents released by Auburn relating to the Newton investigation by clicking HERE.